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A Guide To Lemongrass Essential Oil and Its Benefits and Uses

A Guide To Lemongrass Essential Oil and Its Benefits and Uses

"With the utter simplicity of truth, and in understanding gentleness, [lemongrass] reminds us that we are who we are, and that all life's experiences make the whole," writes aromatherapist Valerie Ann Worwood in Aromatherapy For the Soul. She says the emotional benefits of lemongrass essential oil are to encourage upliftment, calm, balance, and integration.

This essential oil is available in two varieties: West Indian lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus DC) and East Indian lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus Nees ex Steud). Their properties are similar.

Basic Lemongrass Facts

Plant family: Poaceae/Gramineae (a family of tropical grasses that also includes citronella, palmarosa, and vetiver)

Production: Steam distilled from from fresh or partly dried leaves of the lemongrass plant.

Aroma: Citrus/lemony, fresh, earthy

Perfume/Aromatic note: Top

Is lemongrass safe to use during pregnancy? None of my aromatherapy books gave a definitive answer. Some online sources say to avoid lemongrass while others suggest a small amount of highly diluted essential oil may be OK. Consult a professional.

Is lemongrass essential oil safe for children? Do not use with babies or children under age 2.

Cautions: For a few people, lemongrass may cause skin irritation or sensitization. Test on a small patch of skin before using on larger areas. Do not use this essential oil on hypersensitive, diseased, or damaged skin. Generally not recommended for use in baths due to possible skin irritation/sensitization.

Main components:

East Indian
geranial            45.1–54.5%
neral                30.1–36.1%
geranyl acetate 0.1–4.0%
geraniol            0.2–3.8%

Source: Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Ed.

West Indian
geranial         36.7–55.9%
neral              25.0–35,2%
beta-myrcene  5.6–19.2%
geraniol           0–6.7%

Research: Gagan Shah et. al. "Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Cymbopogon citratus, stapf (Lemon grass)." J Adv Pharm Technol Res. 2011 Jan-Mar; 2(1): 3–8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3217679/


Benefits Of Lemongrass Essential Oil

Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art: Lemongrass eases pain from indigestion, muscle cramps, rheumatism, nerve conditions, and headaches. The essential oil helps relieve oily hair, acne, skin infections, stress, and nervous exhaustion.

Aromatherapy for Dummies: Lemongrass repels insects and discourages the growth of fungus.

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Use lemongrass oil for muscle aches and pains, gastrointestinal disorders, indigestion, cellulite, fever, physical and mental exhaustion, acne, pimples, and insect bites. The oil is also an insect repellent.

The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (updated edition): Lemongrass can help relieve acne, athlete's foot, scabies, excessive perspiration, flatulence, muscle aches, indigestion, nervous exhaustion, and stress-related conditions. The oil is also an insect repellent.

Aromatherapy Bible: Lemongrass is cooling, refreshing, stimulating, uplifting,  energizing, and has deodorizing properties. Called the "connective tissue oil," lemongrass tightens and tones the skin and connective tissue. Use this essential oil in massage and compresses for sports injuries, strains, and sprains. The oil may help tighten skin after dieting and is also an insect repellent.

Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics, Volume I
: Psychologically, lemongrass promotes emotional renewal, discernment, insight, foresight, alertness, and optimism. Physically, the essential oil cools and calms hypertonic/tense and hot/excessively strong conditions. It also decongests congestive/damp conditions. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the essential function of lemongrass is to regulate the Qi, clear heat, and harmonize the Shen.

Lemongrass Oil Uses

Aromatica suggests the following blends with lemongrass:

  • Blend with lemon eucalyptus essential oil for acute arthritis.
  • Blend with may chang essential oil to relieve indigestion with pain and bloating.
  • Blend with marjoram essential oil for relieving muscle cramps and pain.
  • Blend with atlas cedarwood essential oil to make a lymphatic decongestant for swollen glands.
  • Blend with geranium and tea tree essential oils to get rid of fungus.

Cleaning

To make a deodorizing room spray: Add 30+ drops of lemongrass and 30+ drops of bergamot essential oil to a 2-ounce dark-colored glass misting bottle of distilled or purified water. Shake well and spray into the air as desired.

Grout Scrub

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons castile soap
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 10 drops pine essential oil
  • 10 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 10 drops lemongrass essential oil
  • Wide-mouth plastic container/tub with fitted top that holds minimum of 10 ounces
  1. Pour the baking soda into the container.
  2. Mix in the castile soap.
  3. Mix in the white vinegar (it will bubble a little).
  4. Add all the essential oils and mix.

Store covered. To use, place a small handful of the scrub on an abrasive sponge and clean the grout. Wear gloves to avoid irritating your hands.

Source: Essential Living

Bug/Insect Sprays

Mosquito Repellent Spray

  • 100 drops lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
  • 100 drops citronella (Cymbopogon nardus) essential oil
  • 100 drops eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora) essential oil
  • 300 drops coconut emulsifier or other emulsifier of choice
  • 4-ounce spray bottle
  1. Add essential oils and emulsifier to the spray bottle.
  2. Fill the balance of the bottle with distilled water.
  3. Shake well before use. Re-apply every 1-2 hours.

Source: Annette Davis et al. "Natural Bug Repellent And Bug Bite Relief Blends." NAHA Aromatherapy Journal, Summer 2013, p. 59.
 
Homemade Bug Spray

  • 1/2 cup witch hazel
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 40 drops lemongrass essential oil (or 20 drops each of lemongrass and citronella)
  • 8-ounce glass spray bottle
  1. Add all the ingredients to the spray bottle. Shake well.
  2. To use, shake and then spray your body, avoiding your eyes and mouth.

Adapted from Essential Oil DIY Recipes by Dr. Axe

Body and Hair Care

Here are two body oil blends from aromatherapist Suzanne Banks:

  • Before-exercise motivational massage oil: Blend 2 drops lemongrass, 2 drops rosemary, and 4 drops orange in one tablespoon carrier oil.       
  • After-exercise massage oil: Blend 3 drops lemongrass, 2 drops marjoram, and 2 drops lavender in one tablespoon carrier oil.

Lemongrass oil may help get rid of dandruff. You can add 10 drops to an 8-ounce bottle of shampoo or conditioner. To make a hair conditioning oil, blend 3 drops lemongrass into one tablespoon jojoba oil. Massage the blend into your hair, wait 10 to 20 minutes, and then shampoo as usual.

Buy Lemongrass Essential Oil

I recommend lemongrass essential oil (Cymbopogon flexuosus) from Young Living.



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Photo Credit: Mokkie [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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